In stark contrast to Congress’s recent vote against the Internet privacy rights of American constituents, Minnesota’s state Senators have voted to add broadband privacy protections at the state level. The protections were added in an amendment to S.F. No. 1937, the Minnesota economic development budget bill, by Minnesota State Sen. Latz. This Internet privacy amendment was introduced as a direct response to the Tuesday 215-205 vote by the House of Representatives for S.J.Res. 34. FCC Internet privacy rules would have come into effect at the end of 2016 and would have forced Internet service providers (ISPs) and telecoms to get permission before selling your private internet history or app data usage, which they also don’t consider sensitive information. These telecoms and ISPs have long been hard at work to dismantle Internet privacy with their words and money – but they have now been stopped in one more state.
Once this bill passes in the Minnesota House and is signed into law by Governor Mark Dayton, ISPs will be required to obtain “express written approval from the customer” before collecting customer information from their users. Furthermore, it forbids these ISPs and telecoms from refusing to provide service to someone that refuses to approve the collection of their personal data; which, if the online reaction to the repeal of FCC privacy rules is any show of, is a lot of people. The full text of the amendment to S.F. No. 1937 is:
Sec. 17. [237.417] PERSONAL INFORMATION; PROHIBITION.
No telecommunications or internet service provider that has entered into a franchise agreement, right-of-way agreement, or other contract with the state of Minnesota or a political subdivision, or that uses facilities that are subject to such agreements, even if it is not a party to the agreement, may collect personal information from a customer resulting from the customer’s use of the telecommunications or internet service provider without express written approval from the customer. No such telecommunication or internet service provider shall refuse to provide its services to a customer on the grounds that the customer has not approved collection of the customer’s personal information. EFFECTIVE DATE.This section is effective the day following final enactment.
Private Internet Access would like to commend the Minnesota politicians that stood up for what their constituents truly care about. Now that S.J.Res. 34 has passed, fighting for Internet privacy is increasingly happening at the state level instead. As Conor Dougherty wrote in The New York Times earlier this week: Push for Internet Privacy Rules Moves to Statehouses.
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